Clam Homes

Real Community Rentals

Connecting People and Homes

CLAM’s Real Community Rentals program works with local homeowners to help create rental units – often from a spare bedroom – on their property. The County of Marin and the Marin Housing Authority are working with CLAM to offer incentives to homeowners willing to create rentals on their property and set rents below market rate. Many homeowners are stepping up and literally saying, “yes, in my backyard” because they care about the stability of their community.

This program, begun in 2016, has had remarkable success, with over 17 property owners now a part of this program, and 27 people housed.

Because there are so few rental units in West Marin, rental prices are very high, making it nearly impossible for local workers to live near where they work. Driving long distances to work contributes to our carbon footprint, to workers’ stress levels, and even to children’s academic performance. Businesses struggle to find employees, while young families and seniors find it difficult to stay.

As a homeowner, you can receive substantial benefits and cash incentives including zero interest loans to create a rental unit, free feasibility visits, and help with tenant selection and screening. Various combinations of incentives can be used to meet homeowner needs. Read on for details about the benefits and the process.

Click here to see CLAM’s RCR video!

Junior accessory dwelling units (JADU) differ from traditional second units in significant ways that make them a low-cost, low-impact way to create more homes in West Marin. JADUs are created by repurposing a bedroom in an existing home. A separate entrance and kitchette are added to create a studio apartment. A JADU can have its own bathroom or share a bathroom with the main house. JADUs do not redefine single-family homes, as the door adjoining the JADU to the rest of the home remains. They do not increase density as the living and sleeping capacity of a home does not change.

Click here for slides from Real Community Rentals workshops.

Looking for a place to live? Click here for current available RCR listings

Program Benefits

Rental unit created by Lilypad Homes designer and program partner Rachel Ginis

CLAM’s Real Community Rentals program offers these benefits to participating homeowners:

Support with tenant pre-screening, rental agreement review, and periodic check ins.

Enhanced security deposit beyond what tenants can pay (up to $2,500).

Additional loss coverage for unforeseen short-term vacancy or damage beyond security deposit (up to $3,000)

Zero-interest loans up to $40,000 with principal deferred for funds to create a second unit.

Waived or reduced permit fees for certain repairs or improvements.

Step-by-step Process

1. Call CLAM at (415) 663-1005 or email [email protected] for more information or to discuss your particular situation and needs.

2. If you wish, CLAM will arrange for you to receive a free feasibility visit from an architect to evaluate your best options for creating a rental space. Then you will proceed to create plans and gather contractor bids. We can help you through the permit process and ready you to receive interest-free loans from Marin Housing Authority to offset construction costs.

3. CLAM will help you review potential tenants, including verifying income and helping you prepare the rental agreement. Click here to view a sample rental agreement. Assistance with security deposit, if needed, is also available at this step in the process.

4. Welcome your new tenant(s), start receiving rental income, and brag about how you have contributed to a stronger and richer community! Real Community Rentals feel great about their contribution to the community, and say they probably wouldn’t have done it without CLAM’s help.

5. CLAM will check in with you periodically, and will verify annually that you are still renting affordably according to program terms.

Are you considering this for your own property? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page.

We look forward to working with you to create a more stable and vibrant West Marin!

In partnership with:

The Bolinas Community Land Trust, County of Marin, San Geronimo Valley Affordable Housing Association, and Marin Housing